Publication Date

Fall 2007




The Buffalo public school system, currently in the midst of a ten year, 1.1 billion dollar reconstruction project, has a unique opportunity to create sustainable, high performance schools. Instead, the Joint Schools Construction Board has apparently decided to take a more conservative approach to the renovation plan, incorporating commendable, but limited initiatives such as updates to windows, lighting systems, heating systems, and exterior weatherization improvements. This myopic agenda is a serious mistake. It bars the schools from reaching their full potential as centers of education for the children and the community. It fails to take advantage of readily-available techniques that reduce pollution and produce important, long-term savings on energy costs. There are many possible enhancements that would increase the sustainability of the schools. One promising area is the use of the schools’ roofs. Often forgotten wastelands, school roofs could be turned into valuable resources.